Tonight, President Barack Obama and Republican Nominee Mitt Romney will have their second debate of the 2012 election. It will be a town hall style debate at Hofstra University in New York, where a collection of undecided voters will ask questions of the candidates in order to fuel the discussion. Questions will concern both domestic and foreign policy, and CNN's Candy Crowley will serve as moderator for the evening.
After President Obama's lackluster performance in his first meeting with former Governor Romney, Democrats everywhere are hoping for some punchier rhetoric this time around. Romney has been gaining in the polls since then, closing what seemed like an insurmountable gap just two weeks ago. Vice President Joe Biden did his part for the Obama campaign, dismantling Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan in their debate last Thursday. Now it's up to the president to turn on the charm and win back the votes he lost in Denver.
Unfortunately, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney have been particularly impressive during past town hall events. Obama's oft academic demeanor could be his downfall if he fails to engage with the audience, but the real question is whether or not he can be passionate without seeming angry. He erred on the side of caution during the first debate, and needs to come out firing tonight. Likability and charisma have always been Obama's strong suit, but voters need to know that he can put up a fight as well. Romney on the other hand has been criticized for coming off rough and unsympathetic in a town hall setting, so look for him to play it cool as much as Mormonly possible.
Tonight's debate should be excellent television at the very least, and I'll be sharing my largely uninformed and totally uncensored reactions throughout.
Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
Moderator: Candy Crowley (CNN Chief Political Correspondent)
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have 2 minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
PolicyMic will be covering the presidential debate live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
Update: 10:39 - Much less handshaking this time around, things got pretty heated tonight.
10:38 - Obama wins for direcetly invoking the 47% comment. I'm starting to think that the first debate was a trap. KO for 'bama.
10:35 - Romney loses for invoking the 47% comment by implication. "I care about 100% of Americans." That could have been phrased differently...
10:32 - I like Romney's answer to the international competition question.
10:30 - I feel like Romney dialed back the glare of doom tonight. I'm upset, because I enjoyed this:
10:28 - Now Romney is coming out in favor of Tarrifs? That was one of the things we agreed on, man!
10:26 - Even Candy seems on board with keyword questions. "The question was 'guns.'" Guns is not a question, it's a topic. The question was, how will you stop the wrong people from getting assault weapons?
10:22 - Yeah ok, no one is favor of criminals with AK-47s, the question was what are you going to DO about it?
10:17 - FAIL for Romney, he tried to pull something slick there but it totally backfired. Good thing for Obama that Candy was watching the news that day.
10:13 - Romney calling out Obama for campaigning in the wake of Libya, but what was he doing that day?
10:09 - Does anyone actually think that their question is going to be directly answered? They might as well just have people stand up and say random keywords.
10:07 - Romney loses 1 million points for being the first candidate asked to sit down. Obama gets 1 million points for the first whip-crack of the debate. "...Not as big as yours..." Gonna leave that one alone. Here's what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert think of that joke:
10:06 - I love the "uh-uh-uh-uhu-ee-eh" chorus as both candidates struggle not to interrupt each other.
10:03 - Self-Deportation sounds harsh, but so does any kind of deportation when you think about it.
10:01 - Obama and Romney agree, "We are a nation of immigrants." That's one for politician bingo.
9:59 - Romney sure wants a lot of immigrants. Sounds like he's advocating "insourcing."
9:55 - It's about time Mitt Romney showed up, that was by far his best segment of the night.
9:49 - Tarrifs might be nice for the "saved jobs" statline, but I've seen enough graphs in Econ class to know that they aren't good for most people.
9:43 - Not sure if I'm totally buying the transition to a health-care discussion, but you have to give Obama credit for realizing that he needs to talk about this as much as possible.
9:41 - Is Romney saying that he participated in affirmative action? LoL @ "Binders full of women"
9:39 - I think the entire Obama campaign held their breath when he hesitated during "because women... " That sentence could have ended the election.
9:37 - Again with Oba-grand-ma?
9:36 - I admire Romney not even entertaining the hypothetical that his math won't add up. It's math, if you're right, you're right.
9:33 - Seriously Romney, name a loophople already. The sad part is, you know he absuses sooo many of them.
9:29 - God dammit anyway, Obama is lighing Romney up tonight. Where was this guy two weeks ago?
9:26 - The top 5% of the earners pay 16% of the taxes? I'm not a mathematician but I feel like that should be higher.
As a tall person, this an important issue for me. Equal rights for the tall!
9:20 - It feels like Romney and Obama legitimately dislike each other. Finally!
9:16 - Coal doesn't seem like a very good option. Obama's "you shut down a coal factory" line bodes well for a more exciting debate than the first time around.
9:12 - That guy's question was pretty specific and Obama just sorta said things about "Energy" in general.
9:11 - Obama is bringing the heat, and Romney can barely contain himself. This is a debate!
9:08 - Interesting percentages from Romney, but unemployment calculation is always hazy.
9:06 - Obama is winning so far on specificity. Romney said a lot of nice things, but didn't mention anything he'd actually do.
9:04 - Wow, ONE sentence into the debate and Romney is already name-dropping the battleground states.
9:03 - I think Romney is 3/3 on coin tosses so far. Bad omen for Obama?
9:01 - I think part of the purpose of a town hall debate is letting us judge the candidates on their body language.
8:46 pm - Here's a live stream link for the debate so you don't have to look away from your computer screen:
8:18 pm - Apparently a hot search term right now is "What channel is the debate on?" It's on EVERY channel.
8:06 pm -